Vision, Mission and Principles
ITA VISION STATEMENT
ITA MISSION STATEMENT
Human Resource Policies
ITA VISION STATEMENT
To be successful in:
Transforming the ways that our Department shares ideas and information
Helping build a Department that is professionally strong, flexible,
and competitive in a changing marketplace
Helping staff, management, partners, and clients realize their
visions through the use of information technology
The Department is to be a world class
leader in the creation, transformation, transfer, and application
of knowledge. Success in this mission requires an integrated environment
of information technologies that supports and enhances the activities
of our staff, management, partners, and clients, as well as the
management and operation of the Department.
Information Technology Architecture
(ITA) leads the development of an integrated information technology
environment that actively aids and enhances the academic and support
activities of the Department.
ITA delivers an architecture that enables IT products and services
that allows staff, management, partners, and clients to achieve
or surpass the Department's goals.
Cultural change does not occur quickly.
Cultural principles require continual reinforcement. We must nurture
the new culture through conscious use of language, feedback, reward
and recognition systems, coaching and training, budget management,
and methods. For example, the ITA teams will emphasize the language
of "clients" and "customer" and "buying
and selling products".
The following is a list of the cultural principles for ITA. It
summarizes many of the cultural changes that are synergistic with
and reinforced by structural change.
- The purpose of ITA is to serve its
customers, not control them.
- All work requires a customer. (Exceptions
are noted below under "Entrepreneurship" and "Risk.")
The need for a customer to make a purchase decision ensures that
we deliver value as perceived by our customers, and that we are
business-driven rather than technology-driven.
- We help our customers succeed with
their missions as they perceive them by serving their expressed
- We ask our customers what they want,
listen to what they tell us, and work together with them to meet
their needs. We do not second guess our customers by deciding
what we think is "best for the Department."
- We strive to offer our customers
the best value for the money. To do so, we must understand what
- We strive for a healthy partnership
with our customers, where each party sees a vested interest in
the success of the other.
- Everyone is responsible for his
or her own quality. There are no inspectors and no other team,
organization or group will make up for another's lack of quality.
- Quality is defined in the eyes of
the customer. Since customers may vary in their willingness to
pay for perfection, quality does not always mean doing things
perfectly; rather, it means meeting or exceeding customer requirements
and expectations in the best possible way within the budget given.
- Quality means:
- Striving to do things right the
- When things go wrong, diagnosing
the root cause of the problem and implement a permanent, systemic
fix such as improved processes of work.
- Continually seeking ways to improve
products and services, as well as the way we do business.
- Quality includes:
- Delivering well-integrated products
and services, and working within agreed-upon standards and guidelines.
- Delivering all aspects of a product
to ensure the intended results. (For example, complete information
systems must be delivered with documentation, training curricula,
architectural compliance, data dictionary updates, etc.)
- Using best practices. (For example,
data-driven design of transactions processing systems.)
- ITA is a "business within a
business." Similarly, each team, organization or group within
ITA is its own "business within a business," and leaders
are evaluated as an independent business-person. This spirit of
entrepreneurship will be carried through as many levels of the
organization as possible.
- Jobs are defined by results--not
by tasks, responsibilities, or territories as in bureaucracies.
- ITA competes within a "marketplace"
composed of its customers throughout the Department community.
- ITA must earn business through superior
performance. We do not command a monopoly. Customers may buy services
outside, or do the work themselves.
- As entrepreneurs:
- We do not try to maximize revenue
or expense; we maximize the value we added.
- We are self-managing; we understand
the nature and scope of our business (based on our charters),
and are empowered to take initiatives within the limits of our
charters and risk guidelines (see Risk section below).
- We proactively seek new opportunities
to serve our customers. Budget will come if customers chose to
buy our products, i.e., if the value and return on investment
is perceived by the customers. Thus, every team organization or
group continually seeks new market opportunities within its charter--that
is, new products and services that will benefit customer.
- Leaders are responsible for their
- strategic plans
- business plans
- results reports
- quality methods and practices
- inventories of assets and products
- human resources
- billing information entries
- grant opportunities and proposals
- Decision-making authority will be
granted to match responsibilities.
- Each team, organization or group
controls its own resources.
- With empowerment, there is also
accountability for results.
- We form clear contracts with our
customers and suppliers. Contracts are not long or legalistic,
and for simple projects they may be verbal. They are, however,
clear agreements between customers and suppliers.
- We may satisfy a contract either
by doing the work or buying completed products from others inside
or outside the Department.
- When contracting, each team, organization
or group can commit only itself. If subcontracts are required,
the agreement of subcontractors must be gained (as to time and
price) before a prime contract can be finalized.
- Contracts represent solid commitments
(not "to do" lists). Contracts specify the product or
service, costs, the delivery date, and mutual roles.
- Contracts can only be established
by mutual agreement. If a change is required, a new contract is
- We help our customers to make wise
economic decisions by providing them with an understanding of
the full cost of their buying decisions before they are asked
to agree to a contract.
- We update contract status by appropriate
methods whenever changes occur.
- We keep our customers informed about
progress on a contract.
- Customers decide on the degree of
"technological and business" risk they wish to take
in their projects.
- Product and service providers (at
whatever level of the organization that issued the contract) accept
all "project management" risk, that is, responsibility
for fulfilling contracts on time and on budget, and for all of
the decisions about technique and "make versus buy"
implicit in the work. To manage our risk, we prefer short projects
over long projects. Ideally, projects will be scoped so as to
be completed in six months or less.
- Customers must accept the risk of
their staff not accepting the product and the risk of it not paying
off. However, we will do every thing within our power to be sure
that customers receive the expected benefits, in order to ensure
- As entrepreneurs, we may take some
risks and perform work without a customer under the following
- We may perform research (at our
own expense or funded by management) to investigate new products
- We may develop proposals at our
own expense, in hopes of making a sale.
- We may develop prototypes at our
own expense only in mass-market situations; conversely, where
there is one, identifiable, customer or consortium, development
must be approved through the contracting process.
- ITA management will specify the
degree of risk that is allowed each team, organization or group
by providing budget authority, and then empowering staff to make
their own decisions within these budgets.
- The above risks may be taken independently,
within the limits of a organization's resources.
- Beyond that limit, management approval
(i.e., venture capital) must be sought.
- Each team, organization or group
within ITA, while independent, depends on the success of the whole
entity. We are a single entrity and as a whole present a single
face to clients.
- We will act strictly within our
charters and domains.
- Members of ITA do not criticize
each other outside of the organization. We do critique each other
freely in private, however, to constructively seek improvements
in our products and services.
- Leads, referrals, feedback, and
other valuable information will be passed freely between organizations.
Each ITA team, organization or group will encourage its clients
to utilize the services of other groups in the Branch. For example,
if the client would benefit from an unbiased needs assessment
but he or she approaches a Technologist directly, the Technologist
will gracefully refer the client to the Consultancy (either Strategic
Consulting or Sales Consulting).
- No team, organization or group within
ITA will expand its territory in such a way as to compete with
another ITA organization.
- Teams, organizations or groups trust
each other to deliver on contracts. Thus, we are just as comfortable
subcontracting to each other as doing the work ourselves.
- We keep each other informed about:
- new products (product knowledge,
- critical status and incident information
- trends in strategic and quality
- customer leads
- contract status
- customer feedback
- our policies, standards, and guidelines
- Whenever possible, we will buy services
from others within the Branch rather than from outside. Through
this mechanism of subcontracting, teams are formed dynamically
in response to project requirements.
- Conflicts will be resolved at the
lowest possible level. They will not fester, but will be resolved
immediately through open discussions. Outcomes will be decided
based on the best interest of the Department as a whole, and on
the principles of the structure and the culture.
- Performance will be measured against
clearly stated, agreed- upon objectives. Recognition will be based
on performance. This includes teamwork as well as individual performance.
- Among other objectives, we, as entrepreneurs,
are recognized for earning "business," that is attracting
clients to work through us rather than use outside resources or
do the work themselves.
- As entrepreneurs, we are not valued
for increasing the size of our staff. We earn business by delivering
maximum value at minimum cost.
- We would rather buy than make since
this conserves scarce fixed resources for high-leverage tasks
that only we can do.
- When clients choose to do work themselves,
we will support and mentor them whenever possible.
- If it best serves the interests
of the clients, we will help them develop their own counterparts
to our staff.
- ITA will value staff for a variety
of contributions to the organization such as: customer focus,
teamwork, knowledge, experience, supervisory responsibilities,
financial management, strategic impact, and external relationships,
but not for increasing staff.
- In ITA, which has a flat organizational
structure, career progress can be made through moves to different
specialties as well as moves to a different supervisory level.
- All staff are responsible for their
own professional development. Managers will coach and encourage
development, and allocate available resources, but initiatives
must come from each individual. Training will be made available
in management, entrepreneurship, and technical areas.
- Everyone in the meeting will be
responsible for the effectiveness of the meeting.
- Meetings will be well-managed and
start on time.
- A spirit of "truth-seeking"
is encouraged, where people are free to propose ideas and explore
them without feeling ownership or defensiveness.
- People will listen to each other,
and help others listen by pointing out miscommunication.
- When a topic is not yet resolved
and a new topic is raised, one issue will be "parked"
until the other is brought to closure or consciously postponed
(rather than talking about two issues at once or letting one go
- When consensus is reached, discussion
will move on to a new topic. Not everyone must say something about
every issue; rather only new thoughts should be added to the discussion.
- Decision making is participative
rather than democratic. The decision maker will gather everyone's
input, but the decision then rests with the responsible individual.
- Structure will be based on ITA principles
and designed to satisfy clients' expectations of results, not
their expectations of structure. Structure will not be modified
to accommodate the needs of individuals.
- Organization structure will be as
flat as possible. To the extent possible, each team, organization
or subgroup will be designed as an independent, empowered entrepreneurship.
Since everyone is to a great extent self-managing, span of control
can be very wide.
- Each group must have more than one
potential customer, or it may as well be part of that customer.
- The structure will accommodate all
kinds of specialists including business specialists (technology
generalists), technology specialists (business generalists) repair
specialists, operational specialists, administrative specialists,
- No group will be designed to pursue
conflicting objectives. This demands the separation of responsibility
for operations, technical invention, and business responsiveness.
Other conflicts of interest, such as facilitation of a participative
decision by one with a vested interest, will not be permitted.
- Jobs will be "whole,"
that is, people's responsibilities will be defined in terms of
their products, not tasks. Each group should be completely responsible
for all aspects of producing one or more products (although each
group is empowered to use subcontractors), including research,
planning, product development, and product maintenance and support.
This leads to two corollaries:
- Structure will not separate learning
(research) from doing.
- The group that builds a system maintains
- Jobs will not require time or abilities
beyond that which can reasonably be expected. Requisite variety
will be within a normal person's capabilities. For example, no
job will require one to be an expert at more than one specialty.
- No team will be formed to make up
for the deficiency of another team.
- Everything the Division does will
be represented as the product or service within the domain of
one and only one group.
- Charters and domains represent a
complete description of each group's line of business. Charters
describe in detail products sold to each type of customer, and
bought from each type of supplier. Domains bound the area of expertise.
- Owners are responsible for maintaining
the accuracy of their published charters.
- Charters may be changed by mutual
agreement between a supplier and a customer. All changes must
be within the accepted principles of the culture and organizational
structure, unless the entire management team explicitly agrees
to an exception. Organizational Effectiveness department is the
keeper of official charters, and can help the involved parties
to ensure that all changes are by mutual agreement, and are within
the accepted principles of the organizational structure.
- The vendors and outside contractors
that a group uses when it chooses to buy rather than make are
assumed to live under the charter of the group that hired them.
- Decentralized staff who perform
IT functions will be encouraged to adopt the same charter as their